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Mowing down air pollution in SCV

Community: Residents trade in old machines to receive a savings on new, clean-air mowers

Posted: July 17, 2010 11:00 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Saving green at cutting green while going green.

That’s what more than 200 lawn mower owners did Saturday when they traded in their dirty old grass-cutting machines that pollute the air for clean “green” ones that do not.

Everyone who took advantage of the Mow Down Air Pollution exchange program at the College of the Canyons on Saturday morning saved at least $250.

“I’m going green while I’m cutting the green,” said Mike Eskilson who drove from Canyon Country to trade his gasoline-powered mower for a brand new Black & Decker battery-powered mower.

He paid $165 for a $450 grass-cutter.

“I just don’t want to pollute the environment anymore,” he said. “And, I didn’t like taking in so many fumes.”

Eskilson said he arrived with a plan to buy the smaller model but was convinced with the savings to go for the larger one with 50 percent more power.

The real winners Saturday, however, were the residents of Santa Clarita Valley who breathe easier today thanks to the cleaner air.

How much cleaner?

With each unregulated gas mower emitting the equivalent of emissions from 10 cars, Saturday’s exchange program did the same as if it had taken 2,000 air-polluting cars off the road.

“It’s a (win-win) situation,” said Vasken Yardemian, senior staff specialist with the Air Quality Management District.

“You’re getting a brand new lawn mower and we’re getting clean air.”

The district subsidizes the rebate program which visits a different California community every weekend, crunching up gas mowers into scrap metal as it goes.

When exchanged participants show at the event, pre-registration card in hand, they hand the card to Yardemian and his staff and then drop off their gasoline-powered mower.

The fuel is emptied from the machine and put into containers and the machine is then put on a trailer for metal recycling.

Then the participant picks up a brand new battery-powered mower – one of two models, from either Black & Decker or Neuton.

Neuton offers savings of $335 on its larger machine and $300 on its smaller model.

“These are well-spent public funds,” Yardemian said. “And, this is a very popular program.”

Unlike cars, lawn mowers are unregulated as to what they emit into the air, he pointed out.

“But, that day is coming,” he said with a wink and nod.

Not seen at the event, of course, was the old-fashioned reel mowers with the spinning blades which also don’t pollute and which cost less than all other mowers.

Also not seen were the gardeners and landscapers commonly seen on any given week day taking care of lawns in Valencia.

Bo Ward, who was making sure exchange participants received their Black & Decker machines, said he saw no landscapers taking advantage of the program Saturday.

“Commercial landscaping is a whole different animal,” he said. “Our machines are meant for home use only. The battery lasts about 50 minutes. So, I don’t know if that’s a commercial alternative for them.”

It certainly was for Matt Stephens, of Canyon Country.

“I had this old crappy gas one,” he said. “It was heavy to use. I didn’t like it. I hate the smell of it. It’s a dinosaur.

“This is a great deal.”


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